Second Reading (Christmas Midnight): Titus 2:11-14
The Power of God's Grace
11 God's grace appeared to save everyone. 12 His grace taught us so that we could reject our distance from God and the things in the world. His grace taught us we could live sane, good, and holy lives right now. 13 Filled with a hope that makes us happy, we wait for the time when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, shows himself in glory. 14 He gave himself up for us to rescue us from every kind of evil and to make us clean as a very special people that is eager to do good things.
11 The grace of God appeared as salvation for all men, 12 teaching us (like small children), that, having denied the irreverence and passions of the world, we might live in a sober, righteous, and pious (manner) in the present age, 13 awaiting our blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our GREAT GOD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, 14 who gave himself on our behalf, that (HE) might redeem us from all lawlessness and (HE) might cleanse for himself a special people, zealous (to do) good works.
2:11-14 This long sentence was composed of the main clause (2:11) and several connecting clauses.
"...teaching us..." (2:12) modified the subject of the sentence "the grace of God."
"awaiting our blessed hope and..." (2:13) modified the subject ("we might live...") of the relative clause that acted as the object of "teaching us."
"who gave..." (2:14) was a relative clause that referred to "our GREAT GOD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST."
2:13 "our GREAT GOD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST" can be translated "our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" where God and Jesus are separate entities. Or it can be translated "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" where "God and Savior" are the same person. The translations above use the later meaning because of the clause in 2:14 that described the self-giving of Jesus.
How powerful is God's grace? Even if we set aside the Reformation discussion of God's providence vs. humanity's free will, we are still faced with the influence of God's activity in our lives. God's grace fully appeared in the person of Jesus Christ (2:11) who gave himself to be with us so we might change for the better (2:14). But grace is present to all in the Spirit that teaches us to reject the world, live good lives, and wait for the coming of Christ in glory (2:12-13).
Grace appeared when Christ was born into the world. Grace still appears when we show others the influence of the Spirit in our lives. Grace is powerful, because it brings God into clear view.
On the Christmas Eve, reflect on the power of God's grace in your life. Thank God for his gracious gift.